Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
March 26, 2010

The Game Has Changed

Social media and how you use it seems to be the hot topic on everyone’s mind nowadays. The explosion of social media has added an entirely new dimension to the field of public relations. As consumers follow their favorite brands on Twitter, become “fans” on Facebook, and read a CEO’s personal blog to gain insider info, it is clear that they are increasingly seeking alternative paths to connect with their favorite brands. I am proud to work at an organization that recognizes the importance of social media and has been at the forefront of integrating it into programs.

The foundation of a successful online public communication program is a deep and thorough understanding of the space. With millions of voices being heard on blogs, forums and Web sites, understanding the social media landscape can be a daunting task. However, social media can elicit huge rewards for a brand. Social media channels allow a brand to meet their consumers in their own space and gain real-time consumer insights and feedback to marketing campaigns. This direct and ongoing communication with your brand’s most vocal advocates — 365 days a year, in fact — leads to authentic and trusted one-to-one relationships between consumers and brands, thus creating brand loyalty and devoted brand advocates.

Understanding the space and its benefits is just one piece of the puzzle. There are many things to consider when building a social media campaign. For example, here are a few of the tasks that must be done before launch to ensure success:

  • Evaluate the space.
  • Establish a brand voice. 
  • Develop a conversation strategy and editorial calendar. 
  • Be prepared to implement issues management tactics.

Unilever brands have been leading the way in the social media by leveraging the power of personal connections online and offline to inspire and motivate influencers and drive a powerful two-way conversation about our brands. I am looking forward to meeting with you all to discuss this explosion of social media and how Unilever has used social media channels to leverage successful communications campaigns. I will offer tips on how to navigate the intricacies of social networking and the blogosphere, while bringing to light specific examples from Dove, Axe and Ben & Jerry’s. Until then, see you on Facebook! 

Stacie Bright, of UnileverAs the senior communications marketing manager for Unilever, Stacie Bright oversees the creation, management, strategic development and implementation of marketing communication efforts in the traditional media, social media and multicultural media spaces for several top consumer, beauty and lifestyle brands, including Dove, Vaseline, Ponds, Caress, Lever 2000, and Q-tips.

Join Stacie for her presentation, “Leveraging Social Media for the Unilever Brands: Get Heard in a Sea of Voices,” at the PRSA 2010 Digital Impact Conference, May 6–7!

  • PodcastSteve

    We’ve been advocating use of social media channels for about five years now, with special attention to audio and video distributed in podcast form. Nothing helps raise visibility in a Google search as much as a regular program of good quality audio and video content, with a mechanism for the audience to react and interact with the subject matter experts.

    PR practitioners need to understand social media in depth, but they must not limit their understanding to Facebook and Twitter. There are many other tools available and valuable, especially creating news content in the form of audio and video reports.

    Steve “@PodcastSteve” Lubetkin, APR, Fellow, PRSA
    Past PRSA National Board Member, 2003-2005
    Managing Partner, Professional Podcasts LLC
    @PodcastSteve on Twitter

  • Nann Miller, APR Fellow

    Any media….past, present and future will be employed in the coming years…one requirement will never change….from the days of news from the town square to the teletype…to Facebook and all the rest…unless the information is newsworthy…unless it grabs your attention and is remembered…makes no difference how it is sent

  • Megan Parks

    I agree that social media has become a huge asset to the PR world. A great social media campaign allows the consumers to feel engaged and connected with the actual company, which builds their trust and loyalty. Starbucks does a great job engaging with their followers on Twitter. They respond to their follower’s tweets and even retweet some of their comments.